Real estate agent's conduct 'disgraceful'

An Invercargill real estate agent's conduct has been labelled disgraceful by the industry's watchdog after he forged client signatures on official paperwork.

Kevin Stevenson, who worked for MacPherson Realty, was responsible for selling a house belonging to a fellow agent and his wife in March 2011.

According to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal decision, released today, the couple alleged Mr Stevenson had forged their signatures on two documents -on the agent's copy of the commission form and on a form titled "disclosure by agent - consent and acknowledgement by vendor".

MacPherson Realty manager Jon Irving took the documents to a forensic document examiner who confirmed they had not been signed by the couple, and the signatures were probably Mr Stevenson's.

His contract was terminated and a complaint lodged.

Mr Stevenson did not give evidence to the tribunal, which relied on two interviews including one in which he told an investigator that he forged the documents for "a bit of fun".

"Yeah it was just fooling around the office yeah," he said in the interview.

Mr Stevenson also wrote to the tribunal saying he had provided exceptional service to the couple and that the two falsified documents were of no advantage to him.

"He said that they may have been a result of his clowning around and a crude attempt at something he had been good at at Southland Boys High School and that he did it in front of [the couple]," the tribunal's decision said.

It was not satisfied by this explanation.

"The tribunal have no difficulty concluding that forging the signatures of a vendor document, even for the sake of completing the paperwork and not for any fiscal advantage, amounts to disgraceful misconduct."

Mr Stevenson was also found to have failed to properly complete the agreement for sale and purchase document, which the tribunal found amounted to "seriously incompetent or seriously negligent real estate agency work".

The tribunal is yet to release its decision regarding penalty.

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